Young Mungo A novel

Douglas Stuart, 1976-

Book - 2022

"The story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James. Born under different stars--Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic--they should be sworn enemies if they're to be seen as men at all. Their environment is a hyper-masculine and sectarian one, for gangs of young men and the violence they might dole out dominate the Glaswegian estate where they live. And yet against all odds Mungo and James become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that J...ames has built for his prize racing birds. As they fall in love, they dream of finding somewhere they belong, while Mungo works hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his big brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. And when several months later Mungo's mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland, together with two strange men whose drunken banter belies murky pasts, he will need to summon all his inner strength and courage to try to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future. Imbuing the everyday world of its characters with rich lyricism and giving full voice to people rarely acknowledged in the literary world, Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the bounds of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much"--

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Subjects
Genres
Gay fiction
Bildungsromans
Published
New York : Grove Press 2022.
Edition
First edition. First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition
Language
English
Physical Description
390 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780802159557
0802159559
Main Author
Douglas Stuart, 1976- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* St. Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow, and in Stuart's second novel—after Booker Prize–winning Shuggie Bain (2020)—Mungo is also a 15-year-old living in Glasgow, the youngest son of an alcoholic mother. Mungo would do anything "just to make other people feel better." He is a gentle soul living in an environment of toxic masculinity, sectarian violence, and drink, but, as we learn, he has strong reserves of strength that he himself doesn't know he possesses. Love for another young man would be risky, but when Mungo, a Protestant, falls in love with James, a Catholic, the peril is immense. This is a searing, gorgeously written portrait of a young gay boy trying to be true to himself in a place and time that demands conformity to social and gender rules. Many details are specific to Glasgow, but the broader implications are universal. Stuart's tale could be set anywhere that poverty, socioeconomic inequality, or class struggles exist, which is nearly everywhere. But it is also about the narrowness and failure of vision in a place where individuals cannot imagine a better life, where people have never been outside their own neighborhood. "I've never even seen sheep before," Mungo says at one point. Like James Kelman, Stuart has put working-class Glasgow on the literary map.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Stuart's prize-winning, best-selling debut, Shuggie Bain, ensures great enthusiasm for his second novel of young, dangerous love. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* St. Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow, and in Stuart's second novel—after Booker Prize–winning Shuggie Bain (2020)—Mungo is also a 15-year-old living in Glasgow, the youngest son of an alcoholic mother. Mungo would do anything "just to make other people feel better." He is a gentle soul living in an environment of toxic masculinity, sectarian violence, and drink, but, as we learn, he has strong reserves of strength that he himself doesn't know he possesses. Love for another young man would be risky, but when Mungo, a Protestant, falls in love with James, a Catholic, the peril is immense. This is a searing, gorgeously written portrait of a young gay boy trying to be true to himself in a place and time that demands conformity to social and gender rules. Many details are specific to Glasgow, but the broader implications are universal. Stuart's tale could be set anywhere that poverty, socioeconomic inequality, or class struggles exist, which is nearly everywhere. But it is also about the narrowness and failure of vision in a place where individuals cannot imagine a better life, where people have never been outside their own neighborhood. "I've never even seen sheep before," Mungo says at one point. Like James Kelman, Stuart has put working-class Glasgow on the literary map.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Stuart's prize-winning, best-selling debut, Shuggie Bain, ensures great enthusiasm for his second novel of young, dangerous love. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

After his Booker Prize-winning, one-million-plus-copy best-selling Shuggie Bain, Stuart returns with another largescale tale of queer love and working-class life; young Mungo might be Shuggie's second cousin. Growing up in Glasgow, where religious differences and swaggering masculine prerogative really matter, the Protestant Mungo should not be friends with the Catholic James. But they bond over the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds, a sanctuary for them as well as their feathered friends, and eventually they fall in love. For their safety, they must keep their love quiet from everyone around them, especially Mungo's gang-leading brother Hamish, and Mungo's true grit is tested when his mother sends him on a fishing trip with two shady, whiskey-guzzling men. Will he ever get back to James? And do they have a future? Five years in the making. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

After the splendid Shuggie Bain, Stuart continues his examination of 1980s Glaswegian working-class life and a son's attachment to an alcohol-ravaged mother, with results as good yet distinctly different; this is not a sequel. Here, Mo-Maw has abandoned her children in a self-pitying bid for her own happiness while 15-year-old Mungo is better able to articulate his own roiling emotions than the younger Shuggie. With big-hearted older sister Jodie, Mungo lives in a council flat they'll soon lose if Mo-Maw doesn't show up. He's fearful that his brother, Hamish, will drag him into the "Proddy" (Protestant) gang he commands with ruthless authority and even more fearful that Hamish will discover the relationship he's stumbled into with genial, pigeon-tending James, not only because being queer is considered contemptible but because James is Catholic. Meanwhile, an in-and-out-the-door Mo-Maw sends Mungo on a fishing trip with two shady men she barely knows, thinking to make a man of him; anticipating the outcome of these twinned storylines makes for anxious, propulsive reading. VERDICT In language crisper and more direct than Shuggie Bain's, if still spiked with startling similes, Stuart heightens his exploration of the sibling bond and the inexplicable hatred between Glasgow's Protestants and Catholics, while contrasting Mungo's tenderly conveyed queer awakening with the awful counterpart of sexual violence. Highly recommended.—Barbara Hoffert Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

After the splendid Shuggie Bain, Stuart continues his examination of 1980s Glaswegian working-class life and a son's attachment to an alcohol-ravaged mother, with results as good yet distinctly different; this is not a sequel. Here, Mo-Maw has abandoned her children in a self-pitying bid for her own happiness while 15-year-old Mungo is better able to articulate his own roiling emotions than the younger Shuggie. With big-hearted older sister Jodie, Mungo lives in a council flat they'll soon lose if Mo-Maw doesn't show up. He's fearful that his brother, Hamish, will drag him into the "Proddy" (Protestant) gang he commands with ruthless authority and even more fearful that Hamish will discover the relationship he's stumbled into with genial, pigeon-tending James, not only because being queer is considered contemptible but because James is Catholic. Meanwhile, an in-and-out-the-door Mo-Maw sends Mungo on a fishing trip with two shady men she barely knows, thinking to make a man of him; anticipating the outcome of these twinned storylines makes for anxious, propulsive reading. VERDICT In language crisper and more direct than Shuggie Bain's, if still spiked with startling similes, Stuart heightens his exploration of the sibling bond and the inexplicable hatred between Glasgow's Protestants and Catholics, while contrasting Mungo's tenderly conveyed queer awakening with the awful counterpart of sexual violence. Highly recommended.—Barbara Hoffert Copyright 2022 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The astonishing sophomore effort from Booker Prize winner Stuart (Shuggie Bain) details a teen's hard life in north Glasgow in the post-Thatcher years. Mungo is 15, the youngest of three Protestant siblings growing up in one of the city's poverty-stricken "schemes." The children's alcoholic mother leaves them periodically for a married man with children of his own. Mungo's father is long gone, and Mungo's sister, Jodie, looks after their household as best she can. Hamish, Mungo's hooligan brother and ringleader of a gang of Protestant Billy Boys, is a constant threat to Mungo, who, tender of heart and profoundly lonely, is at the mercy of his violent moods. Even after Mungo meets the kindred James, a Catholic boy who keeps pigeons, he is overwhelmed by his self-loathing, assuming all the calamity around him is somehow his fault. He doesn't have a clue what it is he wants. All he knows is that amid the blood and alcohol and spittle-sprayed violence of his daily existence, James is a gentle, calming respite. Their friendship is the center of this touching novel, but it also leads to a terrifying and tragic intervention. Stuart's writing is stellar—a man's voice sounds "like he had a throatful of dry toast"; a boy has "ribs like the hull of an upturned boat." He's too fine a storyteller to go for a sentimental ending, and the final act leaves the reader gutted. This is unbearably sad, more so because the reader comes to cherish the characters their creator has brought to life. It's a sucker punch to the heart. Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners. (Apr.) Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Douglas Stuart's first novel Shuggie Bain is one of the most successful literary debuts of the century so far. It was awarded the 2020 Booker Prize, and is now published or forthcoming in forty territories, having already sold more than a million copiesworldwide. Now Stuart returns with Young Mungo, his extraordinary second novel. Five years in the writing, it is both a page-turner and literary tour de force, a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a deeply moving and highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James. Born under different stars-Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic-they should be sworn enemies if they're to be seen as men at all. Their environment is a hyper-masculine and sectarian one, for gangs of young men and the violence they might dole out dominate the Glaswegian estate where they live. And yet against all odds Mungo and James become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they fall in love, they dream of finding somewhere they belong, while Mungo works hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his big brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. And when several months later Mungo's mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland, together with two strange men whose drunken banter belies murky pasts, he will need to summon all his inner strength and courage to try to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future. Imbuing the everyday world of its characters with rich lyricism and giving full voice to people rarely acknowledged in the literary world, Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the bounds of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In Glasgow, Mungo and James, who should be enemies due to their religious beliefs, fall in love, dreaming of finding somewhere they belong, while Mungo works hard to hide his true self from all those around him to protect them both from the danger their relationship brings.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The brilliant new novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A story of queer love and working-class families, Young Mungo is the brilliant second novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie BainDouglas Stuart’s first novel Shuggie Bain, winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, is one of the most successful literary debuts of the century so far. Published or forthcoming in forty territories, it has sold more than one million copies worldwide. Now Stuart returns with Young Mungo, his extraordinary second novel. Both a page-turner and literary tour de force, it is a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a deeply moving and highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men.Growing up in a housing estate in Glasgow, Mungo and James are born under different stars—Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic—and they should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all. Yet against all odds, they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they fall in love, they dream of finding somewhere they belong, while Mungo works hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his big brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. And when several months later Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland with two strange men whose drunken banter belies murky pasts, he will need to summon all his inner strength and courage to try to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future.Imbuing the everyday world of its characters with rich lyricism and giving full voice to people rarely acknowledged in the literary world, Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the bounds of masculinity, the divisions of sectarianism, the violence faced by many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.